What We Do In The Shadows – Review

Best described as Spinal Tap for the vampire craze, there’s so much cross-appeal to be found in What We Do In The Shadows that it’s eventual cult legacy will inevitably be attributable entirely down to word of mouth by each and every satisfied viewer who encounters it.

Produced by US comedy outfit Funny Or Die (who have never shied away from dark humour) and staged – for comedic effect – as a documentary of the New Zealand Film Commission; What We Do In The Shadows follows three centuries-old vampires who share a house in modern-day Te Aro and spend their nights doing… well, what vampires traditionally do. Mugging for camera in the run-up to the biggest supernatural get-together of the season; Viago, Vladislav, and Deacon take us through the day-to-day ups and downs of life (or unlife) as a creature of the night.

Quite simply the most hilarious horror comedy of the year thus far, it works largely because of solid writing at the hands of writer/director/stars Waititi and Clement; both of whom – along with Jonathan Brugh – deliver such confident and unflinching performances that each gag hits with real force and lands with a boom. Intelligent construction helps the script to no end, with the full array of vampire tropes and clichés taken on one-by-one and lampooned with startling wit.

The mockumentary dynamic does saddle What We Do In The Shadows in the sadly lamentable realm of found-footage; but that’s easy to overlook when the material is as razor sharp as it is here. A brilliant script, a superb cast and gags that will have Bram Stoker spinning in his grave; there’s life to be found in the vampire fad yet, and thankfully none of it involves glitter.

Catch Van Connor’s reviews in our Movies section and live on Slam Dunk Cinema every Saturday at 12PM on Sheffield Live! 93.2FM or on the podcast via iTunes.

In it
Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Jonathan Brugh
Behind it
Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi

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